COVID-19: Approaching the In-Human

BLACK, Jack (2020). COVID-19: Approaching the In-Human. Contours: Journal of the SFU Humanities Institute, 10 (Fall).

Black-Covid-19_Approaching(AM).pdf - Accepted Version
All rights reserved.

Download (306kB) | Preview
Official URL:


What the COVID-19 pandemic serves to reveal is the inherent limitations and contradictions of a symbolic order that must now be perceived via an “impossible subjectivity”: what this essay will refer to as the “in-human.” (Zizek, 2020). Indeed, this in-human perspective transpires not through our fetishization of the virus, as some form of justification for humanity’s impact on the world, but from a position of impossibility that renders “the whole situation into which we are included.” (Monbiot, 2020; Zizek, 2020). It is on this basis that the virus confers a confrontation with the Real: an antagonism steered by the isolation of an “impossible phenomenon,” grounded in a certain level of “disengagement” that obliges us to “perceive reality as it were viewed from outside.” (Zizek, 2020). Importantly, this “view from outside” does not—and now, cannot—avoid our engagement with the impossible, but must instead be rendered via a form of approachment that conceives of the “virus” as an in-human phenomenon that is our universal condition. The following sections will serve to clarify this in-human approach.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Issue #10: Fall 2020
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2021 12:10
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2021 01:18

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics